Day 314: Russian Backlash After Makiivka Strike

According to multiple reports, a number of prominent Russian nationalists and military bloggers, as well as some lawmakers, have demanded punishment for commanders they accused of ignoring dangers after a Ukrainian attack in the Donetsk region on New Year's Eve killed dozens of Russian troops.

Day 314: Russian Backlash After Makiivka Strike
Image credit: NBC

Facts

  • According to multiple reports, a number of prominent Russian nationalists and military bloggers, as well as some lawmakers, have demanded punishment for commanders they accused of ignoring dangers after a Ukrainian attack in the Donetsk region on New Year's Eve killed dozens of Russian troops.
  • In a rare disclosure on Monday, Russia's defense ministry said 63 soldiers were killed on New Year's Eve blasts that destroyed a temporary barracks in a vocational college in the city of Makiivka, just nine miles (15 km) east of and a twin city to the regional capital of Donetsk city. Donetsk city and Makiivka have been controlled by Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) forces since 2014.
  • Russia said the attack was carried out with six rockets from US-supplied High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS). Russian military bloggers questioned housing large numbers of soldiers in single buildings when in the known range of HIMARS rockets; others alleged that soldiers were housed near munitions depots.
  • While critics also alleged that real casualty figures are much higher, the General Staff of Ukraine's Armed Forces called the Makiivka attack a "strike on Russian manpower and military equipment," without making a claim to casualties. Ukrainian Pres. Volodymyr Zelenskyy did not refer to the attack in his nightly address.
  • Since the incident, Russia and pro-Russia forces launched a number of attacks within the Donetsk region overnight and on Tuesday. Overnight attacks were recorded in the cities of Kramatorsk and Druzhkivka, where two civilians were injured and an ice rink was reportedly destroyed.
  • A Russian attack on a water plant in Donetsk's Kurakhove on Tuesday also struck a residential building, killing one civilian and injuring two others. Russia also carried out attacks in the regions of Sumy, Mykolaiv, Dnipropetrovsk, and Zaporizhzhia without reports of civilian casualties; two civilians were also reported killed after their car ran over a mine in Kherson.
  • Widespread Ukrainian attacks have also continued to be reported in the Donetsk region over the past day. DPR officials reported artillery shelling on 70 occasions, with bombardment recorded in Myronivskyi, where one civilian was reported killed, and in Donetsk city, where two were reported injured; shelling was also reported in Yasnuvata and Horlivka.
  • Elsewhere, following a call with Zelenskyy and European Commission (EC) Pres. Ursula von der Leyen, a readout of the call from Ukraine's presidential office said Zelenskyy raised the first tranche of a new, EU macro-financial assistance program for Ukraine worth €18B ($19B USD). According to the statement, Zelenskyy further thanked Von der Leyen for other humanitarian aid and informed her of Ukraine's progress in seven areas recommended by the EC in the context of Ukraine's pursuit of EU candidate status.

Sources: Al Arabiya, Pravda, Tass, and President.

Narratives

  • Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by Understanding War. Putin is losing the narrative war against his nationalist base after the deadly strikes in Makiivka. Some reports say the vocational college housed as many as 600 newly mobilized troops and that as many as 100 were killed.
  • Pro-Russia narrative, as provided by Tass. Ukraine's strike on Makiivka was carried out with US-supplied HIMARS rockets and killed 63 Russian soldiers on New Year's Eve. This is another example of the deadly carnage resulting from US and Western meddling.

Predictions